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Mile High Morning: ESPN's Mina Kimes, The Athletic's Nate Tice evaluate the Broncos' biggest needs ahead of the draft


The Lead

With less than a month to go before the draft, ESPN’s Mina Kimes set out to evaluate each NFL team’s roster and identify the biggest holes teams still remaining after free agency. Along with The Athletic's Nate Tice, Kimes determined that on the whole, there aren't many questions for the Broncos' roster.

"Huge free agency — offensive linemen galore, blocking tight ends, a fullback, [Samaje] Perine," Kimes said. "We know what they want to do. They also brought in Zach Allen. Marquez Callaway was kind of a sneaky under-the-radar signing. They lost Dre'Mont Jones and replaced him with Zach Allen, basically."

While she admitted that she had some trouble figuring out the biggest need remaining, one of the groups she picked was wide receiver — "with a question mark because there's so much speculation" — though she later noted that Tim Patrick's return should be key after his season-ending injury a year ago was a "sneaky huge loss."

Tice was also bullish on Patrick's return, especially in Head Coach Sean Payton's offense.

"That is such a Sean Payton receiver — a power slot blocking his butt off up the middle and also just like a sound receiver," Tice said. "I know he'll love him. … [T]he only thing I have is they're getting Tim Patrick back, and that's really about it with this team."

Kimes also mentioned a couple spots on defense — cornerback and edge rusher — that could be areas of need. But on the whole, they said there weren't significant holes on the roster.

"They're sitting in a decent spot, and you can see, like you said, what Sean Payton's kind of leaning into getting Perine, getting Manhertz the tight end, several offensive linemen," Tice said. "Really trying to inject that soundness in the run game with heavy play-action shots — I think we're going to see a lot of that this year out of [Russell Wilson]."

Below the Fold

To get a bead on the players who could be available when the Broncos are on the clock, The Athletic has updated its top-100 ranking of prospects. With Denver holding the 67th- and 68th-overall picks, players who could be available in that range would be Miami CB Tyrique Stevenson, South Carolina CB Cam Smith and Ohio State edge rusher Zach Harrison.

"Stevenson allowed a 42.5 percent completion percentage as the primary defender last season, second best among ACC cornerbacks," The Athletic's NFL staff wrote of Stevenson.

The Unclassifieds

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